Capital Access in Israel's Underserved Markets
By Glenn Yago and Steve Zecher
In 2014, Israel’s climbing poverty rates threatened national stability. With no access to traditional credit and banking services, significant segments of the Israeli population were marginalized financially and could not participate fully in the country’s economic growth.
To address the needs of Israel’s poorest and most vulnerable populations and build mechanisms for financial inclusion, the Milken Institute convened a Financial Innovations Lab in Jerusalem in March 2014. The Lab addressed local initiatives in alternative banking, community lending, asset building, and financial technologies. The discussions encompassed the four pillars of inclusive financing strategies: capital growth, community development, credit, and capacity. Participants discussed the possibility of building a new community banking service, pointing to several existing models that could serve as guides for development and implementation, as well as creating tools to build liquid assets for the unbanked and underbanked.